Lock up your cats! There’s a pet-napper on the prowl in Greenpoint!
Cops are hunting a mysterious fiend who is believed to have swiped at least three pussies in as many weeks. The prime suspect is a little old lady who has been known to hoard stolen cats in her apartment, which has no buzzer or telephone and is soused with cat urine, a source said.
The catnapper’s most-recent score? Stealing Lucas, a cute six-month-old Russian blue from the now ironically named shop Pet on the Run on Manhattan Avenue on Halloween night.
Owner Zohar Saadi said Lucas is the third feline that has been stolen from his store, which is between India and Huron streets, in the last three years — but it may not be the last.
As quickly as Saadi put up “Missing Cat” signs, local blogger Miss Heather linked that theft to other recent catnappings, including the taking of Larry, who was stolen a couple weeks ago from a bodega across the street from Pet on the Run.
In that case, Miss Heather reported, the bodega owner intimidated the elderly suspect into giving back the feline by having some muscular pals pose as, well, muscular pals.
Others in the neighborhood say that there was an attempted catnapping from the neighborhood grocery store, The Garden, though the owner denies it, and one cat stolen from a Polish deli in the same area.
The whole thing has cat lovers sobbing in their milk bowls.
“It’s sad and I’m sorry that someone is taking pets, but it happens, especially when they are popular neighborhood pets,” said Ralph, a pet food supplier who declined to give his last name.
Saadi told The Brooklyn Paper his sad story about Lucas and its even sadder ending.
“It was my day off and my nephew and partner were running the store and giving out candy for the trick-or-treaters,” Saadi said somberly. “I call every two hours just to check in and at around 2 pm, my nephew said, ‘I can’t find Lucas! He’s not in his bed, he’s not anywhere!’”
Saadi came to his shop immediately and went around to the surrounding stores, but no one had seen Lucas.
“I knew he was gone,” he said. “I just knew it.”
The gray cat with a white tuft of hair on his chest and a gold collar rarely left the store. For him, it was paradise with treats, toys, and a bed of his own. Lucas always sat on the front step, greeting customers and passersby with “kisses and hugs,” Saadi explained. One patron would stop by the store everyday just to see the puss.
Saadi, who is offering a $200 reward, canvassed the neighborhood for several hours, filed a police report, and posted fliers with Lucas’s information in store windows.
Saadi said he is not waiting for police and is doing his own investigation. “The only enemy Lucas had was the canary,” Saadi said as he pointed to the birdcage hanging form the ceiling.
Police at Greenpoint’s 94th Precinct could not comment in time for The Brooklyn Paper’s always purring deadline.
One cat lover of the neighborhood, Eva Prokop, said the cat was stolen because of how beautiful it was. “That cat looked like it was from a breeder, it was that beautiful,” Prokop said.
During the interview, Saadi’s business partner Malik Amrani was calm, but he was frustrated with the faceless catnapper.
“Stop this!” he said to the mystery catnapper. “If you need a cat so badly, go and save one from the shelter. “But don’t take Lucas. We have a personal bond.”
©2009 Community News Group
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